So, first, who needs three more worldwide satnav systems, when we already have GPS? Why do these others want to spend billions just to keep up with the U.S.? There are two reasons: one political and the other practical. Politically, GPS has become a (not the) dominant technology in almost every part of human life around the world, in government, national security, industry and private life, with more than a billion receivers being used daily for thousands of applications, from simple to critical.
Global navigation satellite system
The basic precept of international GNSS is that public services will be available to all users without user charges or other fees. Separately, each system can transmit unique highly classified frequencies–such as the military codes used by the U.S.’s GPS, Russia’s Glonass, China’s Compass and the fee-paying civil applications for enhanced accuracy and integrity signals from Europe’s Galileo–but none affects public services.
Thales will provide its high-performance inertial reference system (HPIRS) and GPS to support all-weather operations by the new Embraer KC-390 military transport. The French avionics manufacturer described the new-generation HPIRS as a “technological breakthrough” in inertial and GPS navigation, combining advantages of a civil-certified product with the performance required for a military aircraft. It is the company’s first HPIRS contract for a military transport aircraft.
AgustaWestland’s Grand New helicopter has received European certification for conducting area navigation (Rnav), global satellite navigation (GNSS) and vertical approach guidance (SBAS/LPV) approaches. The AW109 family member is the first helicopter to receive these approvals from the European Aviation Safety Agency.
Today, most of us would probably rate cellphones, ATMs and the Internet as the three most useful modern gadgets we use regularly. We likely wouldn’t rank GPS up there, and maybe not even in the top 10. Yet without GPS, those three wouldn’t work too well, if at all, and neither would a host of other things that we depend on (reliable electrical power; banking systems; national and worldwide telecommunications, including air traffic control; and car navigation, to name a few). And with NextGen slowly approaching, aviation’s dependence on GPS will grow exponentially.
Clearly impatient with the way the company’s plan for its nationwide broadband Internet project is becoming further and further delayed by opposition from the GPS user community, several federal government departments, members of Congress and, reportedly, within the FCC bureaucracy itself, a LightSquared
Honeywell, the only U.S. company to be chosen as an original member of the Sesar Joint Undertaking tasked with developing technologies for post-2020 air traffic management in Europe, demonstrated work in progress at its research center in the Czech city of Brno last week. One project is an initial four-dimensional (I4-D) trajectory planning system involving the flight management system (FMS) and communications management unit.
LightSquared signed an agreement yesterday with Javad GNSS to develop a system that it claims will eliminate related interference issues between LightSquared’s planned 4G broadband network transmitters and high-precision GPS devices.
Following extensive reports of GPS interference, LightSquared announced last week that it would vacate its L-Band frequency adjacent to GPS and move to one further away to greatly reduce, but not eliminate, interference with satnav signals.
Following a certification and verification process, the European Commission approved the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (Egnos) “safety-of-life” service for aviation last month. Egnos is closely similar to, and compatible with, the U.S. Waas satellite-based augmentation system that corrects timing errors in GPS signals, enabling GPS precision approaches and shorter, more-direct routes.
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